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2020 Dems spar over healthcare and criminal justice records in second debate

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 1, 2019: The 2020 Democratic candidates debated healthcare and criminal justice in the second night of the debate. Democratic donor George Soros founded a super PAC for 2020 elections.


Poll Highlights 

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (July 23-25, 2019)

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (July 23-25, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“The Dark Psychic Forces of Collective Hatred won tonight’s debate. It is absolutely mind-boggling to me that the Democratic candidates think their best path forward is to aggressively and personally attack one another over the finer points of their white papers and decades-old positions, given the intensity of their base’s desire to remove Trump from the White House. It’s mind-boggling that there would be several candidates taking shots at Barack Obama when he’s broadly popular, Trump isn’t, and the whole point of this enterprise is beating Trump.”

– Tim Miller, former Jeb Bush communications director

Debate Highlights

Ten candidates met on stage to debate in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday night. CNN hosted and Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper moderated the event. Read a transcript of the debate here.

  • Michael Bennet said the Affordable Care Act should have a public option and criticized Medicare for All plans that “would make illegal employer-based health insurance in this country and massively raise taxes on the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion.” Bennet said Congress needed to be smart in how it approached impeachment since the U.S. Senate could acquit Trump if it reached that chamber.

  • Joe Biden advocated expanding the Affordable Care Act and questioned Medicare for All proposals that had lengthy phase-ins or would significantly increase taxes. He defended his record on immigration and deportations during the Obama administration, pointing to a $750 million aid package for Central America and efforts to help Dreamers. He said he would not rejoin the TPP unless it was renegotiated to include greater accountability for China.

  • Bill de Blasio said he would “tax the hell out of the wealthy to make this a fairer country and to make sure it’s a country that puts working people first.” He also cautioned that impeachment proceedings could be distracting and take focus away from economic issues. De Blasio questioned whether Biden pushed back on deportations during the Obama administration. 

  • Cory Booker said he worked to reduce racial disparities in criminal justice and criticized Biden’s record and 1994 crime bill. He also said Democrats lost Michigan in 2016 “because everybody from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African American voters.” Booker said impeachment proceedings needed to begin regardless of the politics.

  • Julián Castro presented his proposal on new policing standards. He also advocated decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings and criticized Biden on immigration policy during their shared time in the Obama administration, saying “one of us has learned the lessons of the past and one of us hasn’t.” He also said Trump should be impeached immediately regardless of the political outcome.

  • Tulsi Gabbard criticized Harris’ record as a prosecutor and on the death penalty and healthcare. She said insurance and pharmaceutical companies should not be involved in the drafting process for new healthcare legislation. Gabbard also opposed TPP, saying the agreement gives away American sovereignty, and called for the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan. 

  • Kirsten Gillibrand emphasized that insurance companies are for-profit companies and said healthcare should be a right. She opposed the USMCA, particularly its provisions protecting intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical companies. She criticized Biden for a 1981 op-ed where he said expanding the childcare tax credit for wealthy families would subsidize the deterioration of family.

  • Kamala Harris discussed her healthcare proposal, which would replace employer-based coverage but allow some people to keep Medicare Advantage. She criticized Biden’s plan, saying it would not hold insurance and pharmaceutical companies responsible for cost issues. She also called Trump’s trade policy a Trump trade tax on goods.

  • Jay Inslee called Trump a white nationalist while discussing immigration and said the U.S. needed to expand its refugee programs. Inslee said his climate change plan was called the gold standard and that the U.S. could not delay getting off of coal and fossil fuels past a timeline of 10 years.

  • Andrew Yang said “the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math” and the country needed to do something different. He highlighted his universal basic income proposal in several contexts, including pay equity for homemakers. Yang also said money spent on conflicts abroad should have been invested in U.S. communities.


Democrats

  • Booker introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty with fellow Sens. Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy.

  • The John Delaney campaign said it had its best online fundraising day following the debate, increasing his donor rate twenty-fold.

  • The Mike Gravel campaign tweeted it was coming to an end. The campaign would donate its funds to charity and form the Gravel Institute, a self-described leftist think tank.

  • Beto O’Rourke campaigned in Macomb County, a pivot county in Michigan.

  • The Bernie Sanders campaign announced it had raised $1.1 million since the Tuesday debate from more than 70,000 contributions.

  • During Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, Marianne Williamson was the top-searched candidate on Google in 49 states.

Republicans

  • The pro-Donald Trump super PACs America First Action and America First Policies raised $17.8 million in the first half of 2019.


General Election Updates

  • Investor George Soros, who said last year that he did not plan to become involved in the Democratic primaries, founded Democracy PAC in preparation for the 2020 elections. He contributed $5.1 million to the new group.


What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 1, 2015

Receiving an endorsement from Friends of the Earth, Bernie Sanders called climate change “the single greatest threat facing the planet.”

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The Daily Brew: The mayoral election taking place today

Today’s Brew previews the municipal elections in Tennessee’s second-largest city + our upcoming Ballotpedia Insights webinar with Adam Probolsky on market research  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, August 1, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Nashville Mayor seeks re-election today against nine challengers
  2. Register for our August 7 Ballotpedia Insights webinar on market research
  3. Rep. Conaway (R-Texas) becomes 12th U.S. House member not to seek 2020 re-election

Nashville Mayor seeks re-election today against nine challengers

Most elections in the U.S. take place on Tuesdays with some states—Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas—holding certain primary and special elections on Saturdays. One state—Tennessee—elects state and county officers on Thursdays as required by the state constitution, and many local jurisdictions, such as Nashville and Memphis, do the same. 

Incumbent David Briley faces nine challengers in today’s nonpartisan election for mayor of Nashville. 

Briley succeeded former Mayor Megan Barry upon her resignation in March 2018 and won a special election in May 2018 to complete her term. In that special election, Briley received 54.4% of the vote in a 13-candidate field. Since Nashville’s Metro government was formed in 1963, no mayor has ever lost a bid for re-election.

Briley’s top three challengers according to local media outlets are state Rep. John Clemmons (D), At-Large City Councilmember John Cooper, and former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain. Policy debates in the race have largely centered on how the city raises and spends money.

Thirty-one mayoral elections in the country’s 100 largest cities are being held in 2019. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was a Democrat at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown. Briley is considered a member of the Democratic party.

Voters will also elect all 41 members of the metro council, including the vice-mayor. Twenty-seven incumbents are running for re-election and there are 14 open-seat races. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in any race, a runoff election will be held September 12—which is also a Thursday. Nashville is the second-largest city in Tennessee and the 24th-largest city in the United States.

Learn more

        

 

Register for our August 7 Ballotpedia Insights webinar on market research 

Our next Ballotpedia Insights session will discuss a topic that is a large part of modern campaigns—market research. While market research is often associated with business strategy and understanding customers’ behavior, its’ principles have been increasingly applied to analyzing the wants and needs of voters.

Ballotpedia Insights is a Q&A series with political and legal scholars, researchers, reporters, and subject matter experts. Each installment, we host a new speaker and ask them tailored questions designed to gain in-depth insight into their work. They’re a great opportunity to learn from some leading professionals involved in politics. Even better, they’re free to register and attend.

Ballotpedia’s Director of Outreach, Sarah Rosier, will interview Adam Probolsky of Probolsky Research—a nationwide opinion and market research firm—on the state of market and opinion research on elections and public policy. 

Probolsky has served as a pollster and strategic advisor on hundreds of successful crisis communications and public affairs projects, local, county and statewide initiatives and candidate campaigns as well as citizen outreach and education efforts. Probolsky Research conducts opinion and market research for business, association, non-profit, election, and government clients.

What is market research? How does it differ from polling? Join Sarah and Adam to learn the answers to these questions and the changes in market research he’s seen over his career. Register today by clicking the link below and then send us your questions about polling to get expert answers.

Learn more→

Rep. Conaway (R-Texas) becomes 12th U.S. House member not to seek 2020 re-election

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election in 2020. Five things to know related to House members retiring:

  1. So far, 12 members of the U.S. House—three Democrats and nine Republicans—have announced they are not running for re-election in 2020. 
  2. Nine are retiring from public office, two are seeking a U.S. Senate seat, and one is running for governor. 
  3. Conaway was first elected to Congress in 2004 and was re-elected seven times to represent Texas’ 11th Congressional District. He received 80.1% in the 2018 general election. 
  4. He is the second Republican representative from Texas to announce his retirement this cycle after Pete Olson—from Texas’ 22nd District—did so last week.
  5. In 2018, 52 members of the U.S. House—18 Democrats and 34 Republicans—did not run for re-election. Thirteen of the 52 seats changed partisan control in the 2018 elections. Ten seats flipped from Republican to Democrat and three seats flipped from Democrat to Republican.

Learn more→

 



2020 Dems debate Medicare for All and wealth tax

 
Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 31, 2019: The 2020 Democratic candidates debated Medicare for All, tax policy, and other topics during the first night of the second presidential primary debate. Donald Trump aired an ad during the debates to criticize the Democratic field on healthcare.


 Facebook Ad Spending (July 22 - July 28)

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Like the last debate, I think this has been really quite substantive and the most heated exchanges have been on actual substantive disagreements about what they want to do as President.”

– Chris Hayes, MSNBC anchor

“But in reality, invitation-to-fight questions tend to emphasize the differences that the moderators select, which may or may not be substantively important ones. It leads the debate to focus on areas of internal candidate differences, leaving policy areas where they agree irrelevant – even if those areas are important, and contain real disputes with the other party.”

– Jonathan BernsteinBloomberg columnist

Debate Highlights

Ten candidates met on stage to debate in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday night. CNN hosted and Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper moderated the event. Read a transcript of the debate here.

  • Steve Bullock emphasized his 2016 gubernatorial win in a red state and criticized what he called wishlist economics. He said he opposed eliminating private insurance and supported the government negotiating cheaper drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Bullock also tied combating gun violence to fighting what he called dark money in politics.

  • Pete Buttigieg called for debt-free college for low and middle-income students and expanding the public service loan forgiveness program and opposed student loan debt cancellation proposals. Buttigieg also said he would withdraw troops from Afghanistan and require any authorization for the use of military force to have a three-year sunset provision. He said age did not matter in the race as much as vision did.

  • John Delaney criticized Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, calling them impossible promises that would lead to Trump’s re-election. He said he was the only candidate on stage with experience in the industry and pitched his own healthcare proposal, BetterCare. Delaney also said that a wealth tax was arguably unconstitutional.

  • John Hickenlooper opposed pulling troops completely out of Afghanistan, saying it would lead to a humanitarian disaster. He described himself as both progressive and pragmatic and said the country needed to focus on manufacturing and the economy rather than issues like a jobs guarantee in the Green New Deal.

  • Amy Klobuchar said she knew how to win competitive elections, particularly in the Midwest. She opposed universal free college, saying it would also pay the tuition of wealthy students. Klobuchar also presented her $1 trillion infrastructure plan, including rural broadband and green infrastructure.

  • Beto O’Rourke said he supported decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings but added that he expected immigrants to follow U.S. laws and reserved the right to criminal prosecution if they did not. O’Rourke called Texas a new battleground state and said he ran a U.S. Senate campaign that did not write off any voter. He also discussed improvements to the El Paso V.A. when he was in Congress.

  • Tim Ryan said that some tariffs were effective but criticized the Trump administration’s use of them. He said the manufacturing base needed to be rebuilt and he would create a post of chief manufacturing officer. Ryan said the eligibility age for Medicare should be lowered from 65 to 50. He also said he would not have met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

  • Bernie Sanders defended his democratic socialist policies as possible, pointing to Medicare’s start more than 50 years ago. While discussing trade policy, Sanders said he would not award government contracts to companies “throwing American workers out on the street.” He also called healthcare a human right and compared the U.S. healthcare system and pharmaceutical prices to Canada’s.

  • Elizabeth Warren criticized other candidates who called for more moderate policies, saying, “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.” Warren advocated Medicare for All, a wealth tax, decriminalization of unauthorized border crossings, and changing the regulatory environment to address corruption. 

  • Marianne Williamson said the Democratic Party needed to talk about the causes and not just the symptoms of issues. She said the conversation on stage was not addressing the “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country.” Williamson also defended her $500 billion reparations proposal, calling it “payment of a debt that is owed.”


Democrats

Republicans

  • Donald Trump began airing an ad Tuesday that criticizes the Democratic field on healthcare for individuals residing in the U.S. without legal permission. The ad is set to air both nights of the debates on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Flashback: July 31, 2015

Hillary Clinton released eight years of tax returns showing she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had earned $139 million since 2007 and paid $44 million in federal taxes.



The Daily Brew: Non-debate news – presidential candidate endorses ballot measure

 Today’s Brew highlights Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of a state constitutional amendment in California +  Ballotpedia’s new Learning Journey on deference  
 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, July 31, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Sanders endorses 2020 California ballot measure that would change how businesses are taxed
  2. Take our newest Learning Journey on the different types of deference
  3. Mom, Dad—we’ve got an internship your student will want to hear about 

Ten Democratic presidential candidates debated last night, and ten more take the stage tonight. Didn’t get a chance to watch? Or, can’t get enough? Subscribers to Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing will receive an email recap in just a few hours.

Sanders endorses 2020 California ballot measure that would change how businesses are taxed

Presidential candidates don’t just hold rallies, issue policy proposals, and make speeches. Sometimes, they jump into ongoing elections as they did in June when Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren made endorsements in the 2019 Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney. I was talking to one of our ballot measures writers, and he mentioned to me how Sanders also offered an endorsement in a ballot measure campaign in California.

Sanders endorsed a 2020 ballot initiative that would change how the state levies taxes on commercial and industrial properties and allocate the resulting revenue to local governments and school districts. This constitutional amendment would require that business properties, except those used for commercial agriculture, be taxed based on their market value, while taxes on residential properties would still be based on the property’s purchase price. Taxing business and residential properties on different bases is known as a split roll tax. It would also create a process for distributing the additional revenue on business properties, with 60 percent being distributed to local governments and special districts and 40 percent being distributed to school districts and community colleges.

Sanders endorsed the initiative while speaking at the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Leadership Conference in Los Angeles last week. He said that billionaires and real estate developers shouldn’t receive tax breaks “while 500,000 people are sleeping out on the streets tonight and when our kids aren’t getting the education they deserve.” UTLA is a supporter of the ballot initiative and has provided the campaign Schools and Communities First, which is behind the proposal, with $435,000. 

Opponents of the ballot initiative include the California Business Roundtable, California Chamber of Commerce, and California Taxpayers Association. Rex Hime, president of the California Business Properties Association, stated, “California already has the worst climate for business and job creation in the country. A split-roll property tax will just increase pressure on many businesses that are already finding it hard to make ends meet.”

Since 2016, Sanders has endorsed five statewide ballot measures in California, including three in 2016 and one in 2018. Two measures—one which advised the state’s officials on the electorate’s position on Citizens United v. FEC and one that legalized the recreational use of marijuana—were approved. Two measures—which would have enacted a new regulation on drug prices and would have expanded local rent control—were defeated. 

Democratic 2020 presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris endorsed a school parcel tax measure that was on the ballot for Los Angeles Unified School District voters in Los Angeles County, California on June 4, 2019. The measure was defeated. It would have authorized the LA Unified School District to levy an annual parcel tax—a kind of property tax based on units of property rather than assessed value—for 12 years at the rate of $0.16 per square foot of building improvements to fund educational improvements, instruction, and programs. District officials estimated that the parcel tax would have raised $500 million per year.

Learn more

        

 

Take our newest Learning Journey on the different types of deference 

Last week we introduced our Learning Journey on judicial deference. In the context of administrative law, deference applies when a federal court yields to an agency’s interpretation of either a statute that Congress instructed the agency to administer or a regulation promulgated by the agency.

Today we’re launching another Learning Journey – diving into the various different types of deference. It will guide you through the main deference doctrines and a selection of lesser-known doctrines applied by federal courts when reviewing federal agency actions.

Our Learning Journeys give you a series of daily emails with information, examples, and exercises to help you broaden your knowledge of U.S. government and politics and help you understand each aspect of a particular concept.

If you want to learn more about this principle, taking a Learning Journey is a great way to do it—and it’s totally free. 

Get started→

Mom, Dad—we’ve got an internship your student will want to hear about

Ballotpedia is looking for talented undergraduate and graduate students to become part of our Fall Internship Program.

Our interns assist in a variety of duties on our Editorial, Communications, Tech, or Outreach teams. They’ll learn how to publish content on Ballotpedia, learn about all we do to prevent and detect bias in our resources, and work alongside current staff members.

All interns are paid and work remotely and we can facilitate credit for internship experience. Our Fall 2019 internship program will run from Monday, August 26 through Friday, December 13. Interns will work approximately 20 hours per week depending on their availability. 

Interested students can apply and find more information here→

 

Correction: In yesterday’s edition, we inadvertently omitted Marianne Williamson from the list of candidates participating in Tuesday’s debate. We sincerely apologize for the error.

 



Yang qualifies for third Democratic presidential debate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 30, 2019: Andrew Yang announced he has qualified for the third Democratic presidential debate. Kamala Harris released her Medicare for All healthcare proposal.


 

Which presidential election featured the smallest margin in the popular vote?

Notable Quotes of the Day

“No one is going to close the deal in the last 60 days before the Iowa caucuses with their climate change plan. There’s got to be a gravitational pull toward the kitchen table issues.”

– Roger Fisk, Democratic political strategist

“We can’t try to win an election by getting both the person who wants to hear about revolution and the person who’s also a mainstream old-fashioned Republican who won’t vote for Trump. We have to choose and I think a progressive message can be a winning message.”

– John Deeth, Iowa Democratic activist 

Democrats

  • The first night of the second Democratic presidential primary debate will be broadcast tonight from Detroit, Michigan, on CNN. The following candidates will be on stage: Steve BullockPete ButtigiegJohn DelaneyJohn HickenlooperAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeTim RyanBernie SandersElizabeth WarrenMarianne Williamson.

  • Michael Bennet discussed how his tax proposals would benefit communities of color in an interview with Essence Monday.

  • The Des Moines Register reported that Joe Biden will have 75 staffers in Iowa at the start of August, surpassing the operations of nearly all other candidates in the state.

  • In an interview with EssenceBill de Blasio said the U.S. needed redistribution of wealth. He highlighted the Green New Deal, $15 minimum wage, and free early childhood education as polices he’d want to take from New York City and bring to the country.

  • Booker spoke about his Iowa campaign in an interview in West Des Moines.

  • Tulsi Gabbard posted a digital video calling for an end to tech monopolies and censorship.

  • Kamala Harris released her Medicare for All plan Monday. It would phase in over 10 years and offer a privately managed option like Medicare Advantage. Harris said the program would be funded through a new tax on stock trades.

  • Hickenlooper unveiled his rural development program, which called for expanding broadband access, establishing a lifetime tax credit of up to $50,000 for small businesses that show growth, and creating entrepreneurial opportunity zones that incentivize work in rural areas.

  • Jay Inslee spoke about water infrastructure during a campaign visit to Flint, Michigan.

  • The pro-Inslee super PAC Act Now on Climate spent six figures on an attack ad against BidenButtigiegHarrisSanders, and Warren that will air in Iowa during the debates and the week after.

  • Seth Moulton discussed the Trump administration, racism, and his presidential campaign on SiriusXM Progress

  • Bernie Sanders filmed a campaign video with rapper Cardi B discussing student debt, climate change, and the minimum wage.

  • Tom Steyer is spending $500,000 on an ad that will begin airing during the second Democratic presidential primary debate. In the ad, Steyer criticizes Trump’s business record.

  • Elizabeth Warren issued her trade platform on Monday. Warren’s proposal included a carbon adjustment tax on some imported goods, increased public disclosure requirements, and new human rights and environmental standards.

  • Andrew Yang announced that he has qualified for the third Democratic presidential primary debate in September, becoming the eighth candidate to do so.

  • The Democratic group Bridge Project launched a five-figure digital ad campaign on healthcare against Donald Trump in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Republicans

  • The Detroit News profiled Trump’s campaign strategy and organization in Michigan.

Flashback: July 30, 2015

The Trump campaign hired Michael Glassner as its national political director. Glassner previously worked as a top aide to Sarah Palin during John McCain’s 2008 presidential run.



The Daily Brew: Democratic presidential debates, Round 2

Today’s Brew previews the next set of Democratic presidential primary debates + the upcoming primaries for governor of Mississippi and Seattle city council  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Second set of Democratic presidential debates begins tonight
  2. One week until August 6 Mississippi gubernatorial and Seattle city council primaries
  3. Thirty-one school board members have faced recall efforts in 2019

Second set of Democratic presidential debates begins tonight

The second set of Democratic presidential primary debates begins tonight in Detroit, Michigan. Twenty candidates will participate over the course of two debates on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will appear in the center of the debate stage on July 30 due to their polling performance. The other participants tonight are Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Tim Ryan. Bullock is the only candidate participating who did not appear in the June presidential primary debate.

On the second night, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will appear in the middle of the candidate stage. Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang round out the lineup on July 31. 

Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper will moderate the event, which will be broadcast by CNN and streamed on CNN.com. Unlike the first debates held in June, there will be no questions requiring a show of hands or one-word, down-the-line answers. Candidates who repeatedly interrupt other speakers will have their speaking time reduced. Candidates will also be allowed to make opening and closing statements.

No debates are scheduled in August. The third presidential debate is scheduled in Houston on September 12 and 13. Candidates will need to receive 2% support or more in four national or early state polls and receive donations from at least 130,000 unique donors to qualify. Seven candidates have already achieved both thresholds—Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Sanders, and Warren.

Also, we asked you—our Brew readers—whether you would be watching this week’s debates. Here are your responses: 

Are you watching the debate?

 For highlights of the debates and all the presidential election news you need every weekday morning, sign up to subscribe to our Daily Presidential News Briefing—it’s free!

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Presidential News Briefing


One week until August 6 Mississippi gubernatorial and Seattle city council primaries 

We’re covering 47 battleground elections in 2019, including four over the next week. Incumbent David Briley faces nine challengers in the nonpartisan election for mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, later this week on August 1. There are also a trio of battleground elections one week from today on August 6. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect next week. 

Mississippi

Only one of the three 2019 gubernatorial elections is an open-seat race as Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) is term-limited. Republican and Democratic party primaries will be held to select each party’s gubernatorial nominee.

Three candidates are running for the Republican nomination—Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and state Rep. Robert Foster. Each has identified different policy priorities. Reeves—who was endorsed by Bryant—says he has a record of experience in state government and will oppose tax increases. Waller has received endorsements from four former state party chairmen and says he would focus on repairing the state’s roads and bridges. Foster emphasizes his status as a political outsider and says he would focus on agricultural policy.

On the Democratic side, state Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and six other candidates are competing to be the nominee. The last Democrat to win election as governor of Mississippi was Ronnie Musgrove in 1999. If no candidate wins a majority in either primary, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on August 27. 

Bryant won the past two general elections with more than 60% of the vote. Two of three election forecasters tracked by Ballotpedia rate the November 5 general election as “Leans Republican” and the other rated it as “Likely Republican.”

Seattle

Seattle is holding primary elections for the seven district representatives on its city council. The top two vote recipients from each primary will compete in the November 5 general election.

Three incumbents are seeking re-election and four seats are open. The local Chamber of Commerce PAC—which has received contributions from local businesses, including Amazon—has spent more than $300,000 in support of nine candidates, including two challengers to incumbents Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant. In 2018, the city council passed and then repealed a head tax on businesses to fund affordable housing programs.

This year’s election also features a public campaign financing program in which residents distribute $25 vouchers to candidates of their choosing. Through the program, $1.4 million has been distributed among 35 participating candidates so far. Fifty-five candidates are running across the seven races. In 2015, 37 candidates ran for the same seven council seats.

Thirty-one school board members have faced recall efforts in 2019

We’ve recently told you about recall efforts against governors, state legislators, and city officials, so today let’s take a look at another down-ballot office—school boards.  

Ballotpedia has tracked 13 recall efforts targeting 31 school board members so far in 2019. Three of those recalls have been certified to proceed to an election:

  • One recall election of two school board members was held February 19 and both were recalled. 

  • A recall election against one board member was scheduled for July 16, but it was put on hold pending court action. 

  • A third recall election targeting three board members is scheduled for August 27. 

Recall efforts against 13 school board members are still in progress, while efforts against nine board members have ended and will not be going to a vote. Three board members resigned after recall efforts were initiated against them. 

As of this time last year, four recall elections had been held against seven school board members. Six members were recalled in those elections and one was retained. Overall, 33 school board recall efforts targeting 74 board members nationwide were covered by Ballotpedia in 2018.

Twenty-five percent of elected officials targeted by recall efforts in 2018 were members of school boards. In 2017, 15% of elected officials targeted by recall efforts were school board members.

Ballotpedia covered 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials in 2018. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.

 

 



New Jersey donor disclosure law faces legal challenges

New Jersey donor disclosure law faces legal challenges

On June 25, Americans for Prosperity filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging New Jersey S150, which amended the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act, violates the First Amendment. 

  • Who are the parties to the suit?
    • Americans for Prosperity, the plaintiff, is a 501(c)(4) political advocacy group that describes itself as “an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels.” The defendants are New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D) and the commissioners of the Election Law Enforcement Commission: Eric Jaso, Stephen Holden, and Marguerite Simon.
  • What is at issue?
    • Attorneys for Americans for Prosperity wrote. “The First Amendment safeguards individuals’ rights to associate privately and advocate anonymously throughout the United States. … Protecting the integrity of elections may be a sufficiently important reason to justify, under exacting scrutiny, regulation of electioneering communications, but the same is not true of issue advocacy. Rammed through in a rush to exact political revenge, [S150] obliterates this fundamental distinction and oversteps constitutional bounds by subjecting issue advocacy to the formidable regulations and burdens properly reserved for electioneering.”
  • What does the legislation do? 
    • S150 defines an independent expenditure committee as any person or group organized under sections 501(c)(4) or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code that spends $3,000 or more annually to influence or provide political information about any of the following:
      • “the outcome of any election or the nomination, election, or defeat of any person to any state or local elective public office”
      • “the passage or defeat of any public question, legislation, or regulation”
      • Independent expenditure committees will be required to disclose all expenditures exceeding $3,000. These committees will also be required to disclose the identities of their donors who contribute $10,000 or more.
      • Political context: New Jersey is a Democratic trifecta, meaning Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the state Legislature.
  • How have the defendants responded?
    • Neither the attorney general nor the Election Law Enforcement Commission have commented publicly on the litigation. 
  • The case, Americans for Prosperity v. Grewal (case number 3:19-cv-14228), was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Number of relevant bills by state

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past two weeks. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • New Hampshire SB105: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for certain contributions made to inaugural committees.
    • Enacted July 15.
  • New Hampshire SB156: This bill would require that political contributions made by limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits.
    • Vetoed July 15.


Delaney proposes mandatory national service program

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 29, 2019: John Delaney proposed a mandatory national service program. Cory Booker reached the donor threshold to qualify for the third Democratic presidential debate.


There are eight new candidates running since last week, including two Republicans. In total, 799 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“U.S. politics is not a national contest. Victories in Congress, state politics and the Electoral College all depend on winning majorities or hefty pluralities in heartland states and areas that are not big cities. Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 mainly because she was whomped in non-urban areas where Obama had lost by far smaller margins. Media commentators and lefty advocates often speak as if the United States is one big national polity, where appeals to one demographic slice or another are decisive. But it just isn’t so. Piling up votes on the liberal coasts matters not at all, if party candidates lose in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Carolina.”

– Theda Skocpol, Harvard University professor of government and sociology

Democrats

  • Michael Bennet spoke about healthcare and his rural policy while campaigning in Iowa. He also discussed the death penalty in an interview on The Insiders with Dave Price.
  • Joe Biden released lists of new endorsements in Florida and Tennessee.
  • Cory BookerPete Buttigieg, and Julián Castro spoke at forums hosted by the New Leaders Council Convention Friday and Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Booker passed the 130,000-donor threshold for the third presidential debate, reaching both the grassroots fundraising and polling requirements to qualify.
  • In an interview on Up with David GuraSteve Bullock discussed Democratic party leadership and said he did not support impeachment at this time.
  • Buttigieg campaigned in Michigan, speaking in Detroit about racial justice, climate change, and education.
  • John Delaney announced a plan to establish a mandatory national service program for Americans turning 18 years old or graduating from high school. They would receive at least two years of free tuition at a public college or university or tuition for vocational or technical training. The plan would apply to those born after 2006 and would be phased in.
  • The Washington Post profiled Tulsi Gabbard, including her candidacy, lawsuit against Google, and campaign messaging.
  • Kamala Harris released a plan to spend $10 billion on laboratories and other infrastructure at historically black colleges and universities and $50 billion in scholarships, internships, and curriculum in STEM fields. Harris also called for spending $12 billion on entrepreneurship programs.
  • John Hickenlooper wrote an op-ed about gun violence and mass shootings for CNN.com.
  • Jay Inslee issued his community climate justice platform focused on climate inequality. His plan includes tracking pollution hotspots and climate change effects, establishing an Office of Environmental Justice, spending $1.2 trillion on frontline communities, and creating a universal clean energy service fund to address energy insecurity.
  • Amy Klobuchar met with AFSCME Council 61 members while campaigning in Iowa over the weekend.
  • Seth Moulton participated in a meet and greet in the Hamptons as part of the Common Good’s presidential candidate series Saturday.
  • CNN profiled Beto O’Rourke’s political journey from city council to 2020 presidential candidate.
  • Fletcher Smith and Brandon Brown, who helped lead Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign in South Carolina, announced they were endorsing Tim Ryan.
  • Ryan released his industrial and manufacturing plan on Saturday. He called for doubling union membership, expanding apprenticeship programs, raising the minimum wage to $15, and increasing infrastructure funding.
  • Bernie Sanders appeared on Pod Save America Friday to discuss democratic socialism, Medicare for All, and the Israeli government.
  • Sanders joined Type 1 diabetes patients traveling to Canada for cheaper insulin Sunday and criticized pricing in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Joe Sestak held a campaign event focused on Iran and national security in Iowa Saturday.
  • Tom Steyer advocated impeachment on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.
  • CNN published a video profile of Elizabeth Warren on her law professor years and transition from conservative to progressive.
  • USA Today interviewed Marianne Williamson about her performance in the Miami debate.
  • Andrew Yang wrote an op-ed on CNN.com about why he started Venture for America and his support for a universal basic income.

Republicans

  • The Washington Post reported on Jared Kushner’s role in Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, describing him as a “de facto campaign manager.”
  • Bill Weld criticized Trump’s rhetoric in an interview on MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 28, 2015

Politico examined the fundraising and organizational challenges faced by Rand Paul’s presidential campaign.

 



The Daily Brew: New York City to consider ranked-choice voting this year

 Today’s Brew highlights the five charter amendment questions Big Apple voters will decide in 2019 + Idaho continues changes to its state rulemaking process  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, July 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. New York City voters to decide ranked-choice voting for primaries, other charter amendments
  2. Idaho Governor seeks further simplification of state regulations
  3. We’re looking for you…to apply to our fall internship program

 

New York City voters to decide ranked-choice voting for primaries, other charter amendments

New York City voters will decide on five separate ballot questions November 5 that encompass 19 different charter amendment proposals. Voters will decide in favor or against all proposals grouped within a given question. The 2019 New York City Charter Revision Commission gave final approval last week to the five ballot questions, which relate to the following topics: 

  • Elections—three proposals

  • Civilian Complaint Review Board—five proposals

  • Ethics and Government—five proposals

  • City Budget—four proposals

  • Land Use—two proposals

The elections proposals would implement ranked-choice voting for primary and special elections beginning in 2021 for the offices of mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and city council. It would not apply to any regular general elections. It would also change the timing of special elections to fill vacancies and for city council redistricting.

The second question would make changes to the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB)—which investigates complaints and recommends disciplinary actions against police officers. The ballot measure would expand the board, establish a minimum budget, and make changes to the board’s authority and powers. 

The 15-member New York City Charter Commission of 2019 was established in April 2018. The city last created such a commission to do a full review of the city’s charter in 1989 and voters approved all revisions proposed by that commission. Other charter revision commissions have also been created to propose amendments for specific issues. New York City voters approved three charter amendments in November 2018. 

You can read about the other three ballot measures—as well as the timeline of the charter review process and composition of the charter review commission—by clicking the link below.  

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Almanac


Idaho Governor seeks further simplification of state regulations 

President Trump (R) issued a January 2017 executive order that instituted a regulatory cap on federal agencies and required that agencies eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation issued. The federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs reported in 2018 that the administration’s actions on rulemaking produced an anticipated savings of $686.6 million annually. Some state governments have also undertaken efforts to change how they issue and administer regulations. For example, I brought you the story in May that the Idaho Legislature did not pass legislation before it adjourned for the year to reauthorize all state regulations.

State agencies were required to resubmit all state regulations for temporary approval. Additionally, Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) announced four changes to the state rulemaking process last week.

  • The state will post all notices and schedules for public hearings during the rulemaking process on one website.

  • Citizens may now subscribe to a state newsletter informing them when new rules are published.

  • Agencies will have to include a cover sheet with new rules explaining the purpose of the rule, who is covered by the rule, and who to contact for more information.

  • Agencies will consolidate the chapters of rules they administer to make them easier for the public to understand.

Little said his goal was to simplify up to 60% of the state’s regulations by the end of 2019. He also directed agencies to eliminate duplication and not change fundamental policies—which he said is the responsibility of the state legislature.

You can learn more about what other state governments have done regarding rulemaking and the regulatory process by clicking the link below. And to stay up to date on actions at the federal and state level related to rulemaking, the separation of powers, and due process, subscribe to our free monthly Checks and Balances newsletter.

We’re looking for you…to apply to our fall internship program

We’re looking for undergraduate and graduate students to join our Fall internship program.

It’s a great job that pays (yes—a paid internship—and we can arrange school credit for your work too). It’s not a “make coffee and change the toner” internship, either. 

You’ll learn a lot along the way—taking an active role, working alongside our Editorial, Communications, Tech or Outreach teams.

You’ll publish articles on our website…learn how to spot (and stop) bias..and something else, too: 

You will be making a difference in the social and civil fabric of our nation.  

Our Fall 2019 internship program will run from Monday, August 26 through Friday, December 13. Interns will work approximately 20 hours per week depending on their availability.  

You can apply and find more information at the link below.

 

 



Trump administration proposes union dues cancellation rule

TRUMP ADMIN. PROPOSES RULE EASING CANCELLATION OF UNION DUES

On July 3, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) asked the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to issue a rule change that would allow federal employees to resign from their unions, and revoke dues payroll deductions, at any time after the first year of membership.  

  • What is the current policy? Section 7115(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute states any “written assignment which authorizes the agency to deduct from the pay of the employee amounts for the payment of regular and periodic dues” cannot be revoked for a period of one year. FLRA has construed this statute to mean that dues deductions can only be revoked at one-year intervals. 
     
  • What is the proposed policy? OPM has asked FLRA to issue the following statement of policy: 
     
    • “The constitutional principles clarified in Janus have general applicability to agencies and labor organizations in the area of federal employees’ requests to revoke union-dues assignments under Section 7115(a) of the Statute.”
       
    • “Consistent with Janus, upon receiving an employee’s request to revoke a previously authorized union-dues assignment, an agency should process the request as soon as administratively feasible, if at least one year has passed since the employee initially authorized union-dues assignment from the employee’s pay.”
       
  • What comes next? FLRA issued a request for comment on the proposed rule change in the July 12 edition of the Federal Register. Comments are due on or before Aug. 12, 2019. 

THE BIG PICTURE

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 


 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status


 

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

RECENT LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. 

  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year. 
    • House rejected governor’s proposed amendments July 22.